Oscar Whisky and Thousand Stars, who fought out the finish to the John Smith’s Aintree Hurdle last year, do battle again over two and a half miles on Saturday.
The Nicky Henderson-trained Oscar Whisky got the verdict by a neck over Willie Mullins’ runner when just holding on for victory in the Grade One on Merseyside last April.
Thousand Stars gained some revenge of sorts in the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival when finishing one place and a length and a half in front of his old rival when fourth to Big Buck’s.
However, these two are unlikely to have things all their own way as the field of six horses declared includes Champion Hurdle winner Rock On Ruby.
Noel Fehily, who partnered the Paul Nicholls-trained seven-year-old at Cheltenham, will again be in the saddle. Nicholls’ stable jockey Ruby Walsh will be aboard Zarkandar, who was fifth in the Champion.
Saphir River and Third Intention complete the sextet. Overturn was the only withdrawal at the 48-hour final declaration stage